Nila, Lachy & Jacob: Keeping Exams in Perspective

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Girl lying on the grass laughing

With ANUSA and PARSA’s Less Stresstival and Wellness Week this week, there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind: exams and assessment. We caught up with Lachy Day, Nila Norbu and Jacob Howland to talk about how they deal with assessment time whilst keeping their mental health and cocurriculars in check!

We asked them what they thought was the trickiest part about the exam period:

Nila: “Everyone talking about their equal amount of stress and asking questions about topics you didn’t even realise your course covered.”

Jacob: “I think balancing the things in your life which don't care that you have exams and the pressure of exams - which can often determine whether you pass or fail courses - is the most intense part for me.”

Lachy: “For me, the most stressful part of the exam period is the guilt of taking breaks and feeling like you should consistently be studying.”

Many students feel like the most stressful part of this period is the constant pressure to be studying and working productively, and the implication that assessment time is inherently demanding. A recent study out of the Edith Cowan University has confirmed that the rhetoric we use to imply exams are fundamentally stressful contributes to feelings of dread towards our assessments. The key to combatting this discourse is maintaining the activities which feed our self-worth and fulfillment, in order to maintain a positive outlook and the confidence that we can succeed!

Many students turn to cocurricular and community involvement as one such valuable source of self-worth. Lachy explained how cocurricular activities can help keep assessments in perspective: “they force you to balance your life and not get too caught up in the stress of exams.” Nila agreed, but conceded that “it can be stressful trying to devote brain space to lots of different things” - Jacob mentioned that during the exam period, often things like work and cocurricular won’t slow down when you need to take stock and focus on study, so it’s important to set those boundaries.

Each of these students had their own ways of practising mindfulness during stressful periods: a few trends we noticed were that exercise (such as running or going to the gym) was a popular way of clearing one’s head, and that eating a wholesome, hearty meal was a favoured way of relaxing and rewarding oneself. Nila also mentioned that talking to family really helps her to get through the more intense times, and Lachy admitted to his Masterchef guilty pleasure!

To commemorate the start of a period of focus and striving for the best for our ANU students, ANU Sport has partnered with ANUSA and PARSA this week to offer a free yoga session every day to help you achieve a sense of accomplishment, self-satisfaction, and to practise some mindfulness to keep exams in perspective. Simply register here for our session tomorrow at 12:15pm, Wednesday at 5:30pm, Thursday at 12:15pm, or Friday at 8am!

Make sure to bring a water bottle and a towel. Best of luck with your exams, ANU! We hope you achieve the goals that you’ve set – stay hydrated, get some sleep, and stay active!